Monday, December 02, 2002

2,000 to protest against ‘foreign artiste’ move

PETALING JAYA: About 2,000 local musicians from all over Malaysia are scheduled to congregate on Dec 17 to protest against allowing foreign musicians in the entertainment and clubbing scene at the expense of local artistes.
Malaysian Artistes Association (Karyawan) honorary chairman Zaienal Abidin Omar said during the gathering a forum would be held to allow musicians to give their views on the topic.
“We really hope the Culture Arts and Tourism Ministry will stop encouraging the ongoing practice between the hotel managers and the foreign bands’ agents by providing ready work permits.
“Many hotels have “long-term” arrangements with certain agents and are “obliged” to give them and their foreign bands work, no matter what the standard of the band. What we don’t understand is why the Government is condoning such a practice by giving them work permits.”
The Government, said Zaienal, should immediately admit Karyawan to sit in the JK-Puspal (the Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry’s one-stop centre which handles applications for permits by foreign artistes) to advise the committee on the need and suitability of every application, whether for short or long-term employment.
“We propose that all foreign musicians must take up mandatory membership in Karyawan before they are allowed to perform here as this is the normal practice in many foreign countries.”
Karyawan, he said, also wanted the government to stop discriminating against local artistes by way of taxes.
“A good example is the abolition of entertainment tax for international shows.
“We ask the Government to stop discriminating against local shows and immediately remove entertainment tax for all shows, local or international,” Zaienal said.
He stressed that Karyawan was not against foreign musicians and artistes but wanted to ensure that only good and high quality acts came here.
He said some agents used Malaysia as a dumping ground for third-class acts.